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Lepanto secures indigenous people's consent to Far Southeast copper-gold project means BUSINESS

MANILA - Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co today said it marked a milestone in its quest for a financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) for its Far Southeast Project in Benguet province.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Lepanto said 85 of the leaders of an indigenous people living in barangays in and around the project area in Mankayan town endorsed the FTAA for Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc (FSGRI).

“The taking of the vote is a significant step in the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) process, a prerequisite to the issuance of an FTAA to FSGRI,” Lepanto said.

Lepanto owns 60 percent of the project, with South Africa's Gold Fields Ltd holding the remaining 40 percent. Under a deal it struck with its Philippine partner, Gold Fields has the option to purchase another 20 percent of the project, the trigger being the approval of the FTAA.

Initial drilling at the project site yielded a mineral resource estimate of 19.8 million ounces of gold and 4.5 million metric tons of copper.